Sprays for erectile dysfunction generally work through the central nervous system to reduce penile sensitivity. They are in effect “penis numbing” sprays designed to help men who have problems with premature ejaculation hold on for longer. 

But there are no recognised or proven spray treatments for erectile dysfunction caused by the other common form of ED – difficulties in getting an erection through age-related changes like reduced penile blood flow.

Penis numbing sprays contain pharmaceutical drugs like antidepressants, (clomipramine) pain killers, (tramadol) local anaesthetics, (lidocaine) or a Parkinson’s Disease drug (apomorphine) which have been found to have the side effect of reducing penis sensitivity. Some are delivered via a nasal spray, and some by directly spraying onto the penis.

They have a range of unwanted side effects, including nausea, dependency, mental confusion and reduced sex drive. You need to also be aware of possible transference to your partner if used on the penis. Condoms recommended and one spray manufacturer warns not to be used if the woman is pregnant.

Most of these sprays require a prescription because they contain pharmaceutical drugs, and they only work for premature ejaculation. For men with other erection problems, more general ED treatment options will work better, including oral drugs or herbal supplements.